Page:A history of Chinese literature - Giles.djvu/32

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


pipes; among the metals are gold and iron, with an indirect allusion to silver and copper; and among the arms and munitions of war are bows and arrows, spears, swords, halberds, armour, grappling-hooks, towers on wheels for use against besieged cities, and gags for soldiers’ mouths, to prevent them talking in the ranks on the occasion of night attacks.

The idea of a Supreme Being is brought out very fully in the Odes—

“Great is God,
Ruling in majesty.”

Also,

“How mighty is God,
The Ruler of mankind!
How terrible is His majesty!”

He is apparently in the form of man, for in one place we read of His footprint. He hates the oppression of great States, although in another passage we read—

“Behold Almighty God;
Who is there whom He hates?”

He comforts the afflicted. He is free from error. His “Way” is hard to follow. He is offended by sin. He can be appeased by sacrifice:—

“We fill the sacrificial vessels with offerings,
Both the vessels of wood, and those of earthenware.
Then when the fragrance is borne on high,
God smells the savour and is pleased.”

One more quotation, which, in deference to space limits, must be the last, exhibits the husbandman of early China in a very pleasing light:—

“The clouds form in dense masses,
And the rain falls softly down.
Oh, may it first water the public lands,
And then come to our private fields!